Within the space of 3 weeks footballing events of significance took place within Georgetown, of which one was a resounding success and the other two were colossal failures. As such I must express my regret of not attending the Digicel sponsored Schools Championships third place playoff and finals, held on Sunday, July28, 2013 at the Police Sport Club Ground, Eve Leary, despite not receiving an official invitation (More on this later).
However, in the other two instances, I have pledged unto myself that my presence at anything which is counter-productive to the development of football would never be supported. While this is from a personal perspective, it definitely must not be construed as a clarion call for mass boycott, but rather to duly share my insight into footballing events, that ought not to be supported.
In the first instance the Inter-Guiana’s Games football match Guyana Vs Suriname also played at the Police Sports Club Ground, on Friday, August 9th, 2013, and the opening of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) 2013-14 season at the GCC Ground, Bourda, on Sunday, August11, 2013. Editor, unapologetically and unreservedly I must say that these two events were colossal failures, and both organizers should bow their heads in shame for the national disgrace.
It’s beyond my imagination, that the local Inter Guianas team coached by former national player and coach, Gordon “Ultimate Warrior” Braithwaite never had the privilege of one proper training session, according to the individual in his post match comment. So, with the Dutch winning by a 2-1 margin comes as no surprise, since they were training for the past four months according to their coach.
But why did ‘Ultimate’ take the team in the first place? When taking into consideration that the Digicel Schools Championship had recently concluded! And this tournament from the quarterfinals stage would have been ideal for the selection of a squad of players, in pursuit of training and national representation.
Wherein, collaborative efforts between the Ministries, of Amerindian Affairs, Education, Sports, Youth & Culture, Sponsor (Digicel) and the GFF could have worked out the logistics, in relation to accommodation, meals, internal transportation, training and laundry. All of which should have been dealt with within a budget of expenditure, inclusive of stipends and miscellaneous expenses.
From all indications however, it was a case of being “penny wise and pound foolish”, and also a lack of vision! Meanwhile the GFF, with the opening of their season fared more worse! Once again, visionless and most importantly spineless, that two exhibition matches Georgetown Vs West Demerara, preceded by East Demerara engaging Upper Demerara had attracted an astronomical cost of $1,000 for spectators to view thrash.
Yes, thrash indeed and once again, I’m unapologetic! That a President of an Association was quoted as saying “a new dispensation, in the development of football and to make matters worse the individual, was well decked out in a two piece suit. Editor, such an attire along with the comments would be ideal for a standup comedy, any Friday night at the Stabroek Market Square. With Georgetown, Linden and East Coast having no senior competitions domestically at the given period of time, what acceptable level of football would have been offered to the paying public, worth $1 ,000 as an entrance fee? Needless to say match fitness and cohesiveness would have been regrettably absent. And what was the rationale of offering $250,000 to a lucky ticket holder, from a debt inherent and cash strapped GFF? Was it hoodwinking, or is it all in the new dispensation? By the way is it still a perquisite for participation in GFF competitions being determined by activity at the association level?
Finally, with the Digicel Schools Championship now in its 3rd year, enjoying meaningful success, at least one area, which deserves a significant commendation, is the reduction of protests from schools from fielding over-age players, while uniformity and the venue for the finals need improvement. Bibs are for training and worse yet of the colour of jerseys worn by some players are different, which can be a distraction, moreover in similarity with an opposing player. In a crowded area it can be a distraction, in determining a foul!
With the Police Sport Club, being unable to accommodate the growing number of spectators and supporters, then the next option is the National Stadium, even if it means utilizing two stands in the interim. At least comfort and visibility would be significantly better, and the photographers can capture action photos during a game.
Digicel by outfitting every team properly can venture into selling jerseys to supporters of the various teams, towards reducing expenditure for uniforms.
Once again my profound gratitude to Digicel for providing sponsorship and my heartiest congratulations to Wismar/Christianburg, the winners, runner-up, Waramadong; third place Covent Garden and fourth Place St George’s.
Meanwhile, in relation to the format of play, the final 16 or 8 teams can be divided into equal groups of 4 teams for a round-robin play off with the top team from each group advancing to the knockout stage to determine the winner, inclusive of quarter-finals, semi-finals, third place play off and finals. And fittingly an All-star squared can be selected towards a Digicel Regional championship, along with selecting at least four players, who are academically sound to pursue a scholarship.
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